Khaleef Crumbley started his blog KNS Financial about 6 years ago, and from that, Fat Guy, Skinny Wallet was born. Talking about finance and weight loss, Khaleef’s blogs really are a go-to for anyone interested in living green – both financially and healthily. Based out of New Jersey, Khaleef has a Master's degree in Economics and works as a business manager for a large research university.
Why did you start the blog?
I wanted to have a place to hold myself accountable for reaching my goals, both financially and physically. Since I had another blog, I was aware of the fact that people can be extremely supportive and building a group of people who will help you and also push you is valuable. I also wanted to provide an example for people who are struggling with large amounts of debt, that it is possible to turn things around.
What is the area of finance that your blog is particularly strong on (a particular demographic you focus on, etc.) and how does your personal finance blog differ from others in the space?
I would have to say the battle of getting out of debt and the financial bondage that we are in until we come to that place. There are a couple of things that stand out as I think of this blog. First, my wife and I both contribute content - while there are others who do the same, it's still a very small minority of all the PF blogs out there.
Second, because I talk so much about my weight loss, running, and powerlifting goals (along with various injuries and health problems that I have faced), I am able to talk about how all of these areas intersect with our personal finances. Our money problems don't happen in a vacuum, they exist alongside and, in many cases, because of a lack of discipline in these other areas. So being able to talk about reforming each one of them separately and together can be very helpful.
How do you generate ideas and choose what you want to write about on a daily basis/what helps you generate materials on a consistent basis?
Much of it comes from my own experiences. For instance, I once dealt with an instance of fraud through use of my debit card and in writing about that experience, I was able to provide an example of what to (and what not to) do in that situation. Funny thing is that article is one of the more popular ones on the site because a lot of people search for help in how to deal with that situation, especially with that particular bank.
What are the biggest struggles you have and what is your personal financial goal (both short term and long term)?
The biggest struggle is being a single-income family while trying to pay off over $105,000 in debt! We are down to about $79k now, but it is still moving slower than we would like because we don't have an income stream that is dedicated to debt repayment.
Our ultimate goal is to get to a place where what we make from my side business (being a financial coach and speaking) will be enough to support all of our financial and lifestyle goals so we can break out of the 9-5 rat race and enjoy our life.
What do you see as the biggest impediment to most people achieving their personal finance goals?
I think a lack of knowledge is the biggest roadblock for most people. They lack the knowledge of the tools needed to take control of their finances, and also of the dangers involved in not doing so. Possibly the most important deficit in our thinking is that we don't realize that financial security is something that is attainable by the vast majority of people! It takes some hard work, discipline, and a shift in our thinking, but it is not the overwhelming task that most people make it out to be.
What are some steps that readers can take tomorrow to begin improving their financial situation?
Get a hold of every penny that you make, spend, own, and owe. You can't improve on your financial situation until you have a clear picture of it. So track everything that you spend over the next month and see how your income lines up with it. Then take the appropriate steps - cut all unnecessary expenses, find replacements for necessary ones where you can, and refuse to spend anything that you haven't planned for.
What tools or resources do you rely on to keep your own personal finances in order?
I use a combination of MS Excel, Quicken, and online bill pay at my bank to manage our finances right now. I am slowly trying to incorporate Mint and Evernote so my wife can be more involved.
Do you think there is an area of personal finance that there aren't enough resources on?
I think that financial literacy for kids and even young adults is pretty much non-existent. We have too many people who learn about personal finance by making a lot of avoidable mistakes and then digging themselves out of a huge hole.
What other websites or blogs do you read regularly?
Unfortunately, due to my current schedule, I don't have time to regularly read other PF blogs. Of course I would suggest my other blog, KNS Financial, also Beating Broke, Enemy of Debt, Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, and Live Real, Now are ones that I would recommend to anyone looking to improve on their financial situation.